The 2017 year began with the collapse of the so-called "independent" pro-government media in Azerbaijan. These sites and newspapers which emerged in the era of oil money, are now being closed en masse: oil and AZN fell, the treasury lost weight - the crisis ... Only last week were closed three such sites - ATV, Novosti-Azerbaijan, and ANN. The employees remained jobless, and staff of ANN altogether received its last cut salary.
"The fate of the ATV site has been uncertain since the beginning of January. At first we were told that the site will be reconstructed, it will take several days. We came to work, but it was clear that it is not a reconstruction of the site, but a lack of finances. In early February were told not to come to work anymore. Nine people remained unemployed," said the Radio Azadlyg a former employee of ATV site, who asked to remain anonymous.
"ANN site is closed, and the employees did not receive their wages completely," the employees told the Radio Azadlyg. "We were informed about the termination of work of ANN.az in late January, and were told that they will receive full salary in early February. However, today they announced that they will be able to pay only 50% of salary. We worked without an employment contract. Non-payment of wage was explained by the absence of sponsorship funds. Our editorial staff was located in a three-storey villa, in the office of the Party of Democratic Reforms by Asim Mollazade. Now the party is moving from the villa to a two-room office. It turns out that the party was placed in this villa with our editorial staff? We were just thrown out without compensation and with half of the last salary. The information on the closure of the site is hidden. Now on the site works one person, and he posts all the news," complain office staff. According to Radio Azadlyg, monthly for keeping ANN site the power structure allocated 12.000 manat.
"This is wrong information, the salary has been granted fully," reporters were told by the MP Asim Mollazade. "I am in no way connected with this site. The site has a leadership, contact them," he added. MP's words about his non-participation in the site looks, at least, strange as ANN.az website domain is registered in the name of the deputy of Mollazade - Ilkin Hasanov," said an employee named RadioAzadlyg information resource.
The closure of the news portal Novosti-Azerbaijan can be seen in recent publications, which are not updated since February 1. Unfortunately, we could not ask about the reasons for the suspension of the site from its leadership - the phone in the editorial office, as well as phones of the chief editor do not answer.
"There are several reasons for the closure of the pro-government sites. Firstly, according to information available to me, all the pro-government media have reduced the budget, and now there is a process of closing the least popular of these sites with the least impact," the director of the information agency" Turan "Mehman Aliyev told RadioAzadlyg . "Secondly, the authorities have a very interesting technique. They have created websites, invited journalists from the independent media, bloggers, and after a while simply discarded them. This is a tactic like this - disable normal journalists, and then throw them away. They do not need power. But in any case, the effectiveness of media plays an important role. If the media is effective, the government can continue to support it. So now came under attack are the weakest media, but the process of closure of pro-government media continuing? I think the strategy of the authorities was to create as many online media as possible, to capture information field and dictate the terms of the consumer. But the Internet has no boundaries, and even today is not so much the alternative media, but they are the most effective. Readers need alternative facts. They look for sites with information, uncontrolled by the government. The government is beginning to understand it. Their objectives to capture the information field failed, and therefore they will now get rid of unwanted sites," said M. Aliyev.